THE LIGHTKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Iain Lawrence, Author . Delacorte $16.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385-72925-3

Lawrence (the High Seas Trilogy) returns to the ocean for this exquisite novel that conjures literally the nature and mood of an island haunted by tragedy. When 17-year-old Elizabeth McCrae—better known as Squid—returns to her childhood home on Lizzie Island, a remote spot off the coast of British Columbia where her father serves as lightkeeper, she has a three-year-old daughter and a host of memories in tow. Chief among them are images of her brother, Alastair, who drowned when his kayak overturned. The events surrounding his death gradually and inexorably come to light, sifted through his journal entries (which Squid uncovers), scraps of remembered conversations and a compelling third-person narrative that alternates between Squid and her parents. Lawrence charts the course of the human heart, with cascading emotions of remorse and fury, love and passion, hope and nostalgia. Sea creatures take on metaphoric symbolism (a raven is "the Undertaker"; a beached whale prompts a conversation and some closure on Alistair's death). The author blends tangible descriptions ("There was no wind and no swell, and the water lapped at the shore as soft as cat tongues") and an elegiac tone (Hannah hesitates to use a pair of old U-boat binoculars: "It would be wrong to watch for her daughter through lenses that have witnessed the drowning of men") as he unspools an unforgettable tale. Rather ambiguous references to Tatiana's paternity mark this for mature readers. With adult characters every bit as memorable as the teen characters, plus its stunning ability to create a sense of the island's rhythms and habitat, Lawrence's novel not only lives up to the high standards of his previous works, but may well attract a wide adult readership. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/05/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Other - 246 pages - 978-0-606-30631-7
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-2925-1
Open Ebook - 165 pages - 978-0-307-43393-0
Library Binding - 246 pages - 978-0-385-90062-1
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-0-385-73127-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4176-9855-4
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